Friday, July 19, 2024
HomeLaura PerrinsLaura Perrins: Just for Nigel. A pub-goer’s guide to breastfeeding

Laura Perrins: Just for Nigel. A pub-goer’s guide to breastfeeding


Nigel Farage is a lactation consultant. It seems he knows all the different ways to breastfeed. According to his interview on LBC he thinks some mothers can feed in a way that is “openly ostentatious”. Sure, because that is what is on a mother’s mind when feeding her hungry child, how do I do this ostentatiously?

I would not expect a man who spends much of his time with a pint glass on top of his head to know much about breastfeeding, but perhaps he should take time out of his busy visiting-a-pub schedule to understand what actually goes on.

First, breastfeeding is not always easy to establish and latching correctly can take time. If the newborn baby latched on incorrectly it can eventually lead to sore nipples (do you need to sit down, at that word Nige?). And covering up can distract a baby from latching on correctly so mothers should not be put under pressure to do so.

This can undermine mum’s confidence and formula feeding suddenly looks a lot easier. Now, Nige let me say this slowly, breastfeeding is much better for the NHS as it saves money in the long run. As you only care about money spent on the NHS, you really do have an interest in supporting breastfeeding mums and not shoving them ‘in a corner.’

Nige also gave us this nugget – “I’m not particularly bothered about it, but I know a lot of people do feel very uncomfortable, and look – this is just a matter of common sense, isn’t it?” Is it a matter of common sense, to look? You could just get on with whatever you were doing before the offending hungry infant asked to be fed by their mother but that is up to you, mate.

Further it may be the case that some people – including you Nige – feel uncomfortable about it but it might be worth asking yourself why this is? Why are people uncomfortable with mothers feeding their hungry infants? In other countries where mothers are required to cover their hair out of modesty, they are never required to cover-up/go to corner/ slink off to toilet to feed their infants. Figure that one out.

Nige is worried about older people feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable. This may well be the case but it should be borne in mind that the less people see breastfeeding in public the more uncomfortable they feel by it. This, dear Nige, is called a vicious circle. Look it up.

Many mothers cover up for their own comfort but others do not. There is a huge industry now dedicated to ‘discreet feeding clothes’ and huge ridiculous cover-ups, so men like Nige do not get upset over lactating breasts (something tells me that non-lactating breasts displayed in low cut dresses bothers him less.)

Nige tells us – “it isn’t too difficult to breastfeed a baby in a way that’s not openly ostentatious.” Now I hate to play the ‘I have breastfed my two kids and you never will card’ but how to hell do you know Nige? How on earth do you know how difficult or easy it is to breastfed a baby or get a baby to latch on? You don’t. So shut up.

Covering up while a baby is latching on can be distracting for the baby so I never do. When they are feeding comfortably I might if I think there is an idiot like Nigel in the room, but I might not. As baby gets older and wants to look around room all the time while feeding, mothers often ‘cover up’ but this is generally for the benefit of the child.

I do hope I never run into Nige while feeding my baby (due in January) but then as I don’t spend all my time ‘down the pub’ I doubt I will.

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